AQUA FOUNDATION GRANTS $50,000 TO SEVEN LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
2015/2016 Grant Cycle Recipients Announced
(December 4, 2015) Aqua Foundation for Women is proud to announce it’s 2015/2016 grant recipients. “We are thrilled to be able to award funds to our seven 2015/2016 grant recipients. Our grant recipient organizations are doing critical work addressing the needs of the LBT community, and we feel honored to be able to support them in all that they do,” explained Aqua Foundation Executive Director, Caitlin Wood.
This year the Foundation sought to fund organizations whose work addressed the Foundation’s funding priorities: training, education, and resource support for members of the Transgender community; LBT empowerment and leadership programming, LBT health and wellness and combatting LGBTQ youth homelessness.
Over a decade ago, a group of women came together to create a support system for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in our community. Today, Aqua Foundation for Women (AFW) provides scholarships for emerging community leaders, funding for initiatives making a dramatic and positive impact on the LBT community and offers programs and resources that serve the various populations of our community. To learn more about the Foundation and its programs, please visit www.aquafoundation.org.
The following organizations were awarded 2015/2016 grants from Aqua Foundation for Women:
Legal Services of Miami
Transgender men and women who have inaccurate identity documents often face discrimination. Inaccurate identity documents make it difficult to find and keep employment and housing, frequently resulting in homelessness, poverty, and being forced to participate in the survival economy. With support from the Aqua Foundation, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. will begin to resolve this problem for transgender Miami-Dade County residents. Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. will provide a full range of legal services necessary to obtain updated and accurate identity documents. This includes drafting and filing Name Change petitions, providing state court representation to obtain court orders legally changing names, and providing assistance amending birth records. Legal Services attorneys will accompany clients at all court hearings. As necessary and appropriate, Legal Services will also file petitions to waive court filing fees. Once a name change is obtained, Legal Services will advise and assist clients to change all other identity documents such as social security cards, drivers licenses and immigration documents. Legal Services will also present client education workshops about how to ensure that other records such as financial, educational and credit records accurately reflect their identity.
Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. provides a full range of civil legal services to assist the low income residents of Miami-Dade County and Monroe County achieve equal justice and to eradicate barriers to economic and social stability. For more information about its services, and how to become a client or a supporter, please visit its website at www.legalservicesmiami.org.
Since opening its doors in 2006, Lotus House has welcomed LGBTQ women and youth, many of whom have suffered extensive traumas and homelessness due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Through the Rainbow Lotus program, our LGBTQ guests receive free shelter and wraparound support services in a safe, holistic, and trauma informed environment. Rainbow Lotus offers evidence-based, trauma-sensitive counseling and alternative pathways to healing guided by a holistic and inclusive framework. In addition to a shared community with individual and group therapy, we offer a weekly Rainbow Lotus support group that provides positive interactions with other LGBTQ individuals and allies, enrichment, education, and advocacy. Our LGBTQ guests have access to meals, clothing, educational assistance, job readiness training, healthcare, including an onsite trans medicine clinic, and mental health treatment, individualized counseling, and enrichment activities, all essential in the journey to greater self-sufficiency and ultimately, in breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA, North Miami) is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences particularly the underserved through the collection, preservation and exhibition of a wide cross-section of contemporary art and its art historical influences. MOCA provides a forum for emerging artists and presents local, as well as internationally recognized artists. The Aqua funded project will provide a series of creative arts workshops; focusing on expressed needs of LBT participants such as street harassment; discrimination strained family relationships, mental and sexual health, sexual trauma, and issues surrounding identity. In addition to self portraiture and photography, participants will communicate their discoveries through creative writing, journalism, documentary film-making, and the recording oral histories.
As an organization that has served South Florida’s LGBTQ community for over 33 years, Pridelines recognizes the need for dedicated space and programming specifically for female-identified, trans and gender non-conforming participants. Through these three programs–She-Spot, Beyond the Binary, and CampOUT– Pridelines offers leadership development opportunities and support services to address the unique needs of the LBT population.
With the support of Aqua Foundation for Women, Pridelines is able to provide the following services to our LBT constituents:
• Educational workshops focusing on job interviewing, coaching, and resume building
• Health and wellness sessions
• Workshops on domestic violence awareness and safety planning
• Scholarships for LBT youth to attend CampOUT, our annual youth leadership retreat.
• Transportation to attend groups and appointments to community referrals
Project SAFE (Safe Accommodations For Everyone) is a collaborative program of The Alliance and Pridelines. The program addresses the compounded needs of LGBTQ youth experiencing or at-risk for homelessness with targeted services and resources that are specifically designed to be affirming, inclusive, and holistic. The program provides linkage to available shelter, care coordination, referrals, transportation, meal assistance, family support, and ongoing advocacy. Project SAFE is also dedicated to increasing the LGBTQ knowledge base amongst homeless and social services agencies across Miami-Dade Country through comprehensive cultural competency trainings and technical assistance.
Safe Schools South Florida
Safe Schools South Florida is thrilled to receive a grant from Aqua Foundation to support its STARS (Safe Schools Transgender Awareness, Resources & Support) Program. The STARS Program will provide transgender awareness training to school teachers, counselors, administrators & staff. Additionally, it will provide empowerment activities to transgender students & adults who will serve as speakers & mentors for transgender students. It will also provide transgender resources and support to South Florida GSAs (Gay/Straight Alliances) to help them create safer school environments and provide career, scholarship & community resources & information. Research shows the alarming statistics that of the K-12 students who express a transgender identity or gender non-conformity, 41% have attempted suicide, 78% have experienced harassment, and 35% have experienced physical assault. The Safe Schools South Florida STARS Program will help reduce these alarming statistics and help provide educators & students the resources & support they need.
In an effort to address the fact that transgender individuals “experience unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole,” SunServe will be offering one-on-one employment assistance targeting Transgender women. Service will include identification of safe, potential job sites and interview/career counseling. (National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 2009). SunServe targets LGBTQ youth, adults and seniors with an emphasis on the economically disadvantaged. With seven departments providing youth services, senior services, housing case management, mental health services, a senior day center, transgender services and training/education, the bottom line is we help people and we can help you.